Friday, March 16, 2018

Updates from Recent Blogs

Updates from recent blogs: 
  • The denomination is "Church of the Brethren" and  was also called "Dunkard" because of their baptismal method of total immersion.  Reverend Dolar Richey's son, Arthur, also became a pastor and served in the Church of the Brethren, in Walnut Grove, near Parkersburg, IL according to A. Couts. 
  • A reader inquired about the location of the Stevens Horseshoeing Shop picture. J King responded that the J.C. Stephen's Horseshoeing Shop picture is a bit misleading in that the brothers Clay & Clyde Stephens are Lawrence County guys, but the picture is in front of the James Clay "J.C." Stephens shop in nearby Bruceville, IN.  In 1900, the census of Bond Township, Lawrence County, included the household of 52-year old farmer Cyrus Stephens--sons James C. Stephens, age 21, born in Illinois & Clyde P. Stephens, age 10, born in Illinois.  In 1910, Clyde was farming in Bond Twp, age 20, with a new wife and baby daughter.  He later registered for the World War I draft in Tazewell Co., IL, where he died and was buried in 1919.  The 1910 Census found 31-year old James C. Stephens owning a blacksmith shop in Bruceville with wife & two children.  James Clay Stephens died 17 June 1957 and was buried at the Derr Cemetery, east of Pinkstaff.  The picture of the J.C. Stephen's Horseshoeing Shop is circa 1906-1908 on Main Street in Bruceville, Knox County, Indiana, with the Bruceville School in the background.  It is not the Lawrence County Courthouse in Lawrenceville IL, nor is it the Old Central School in Lawrenceville.  King also concluded that the school was not anything he had ever seen pictured in Bridgeport, Sumner, or St Francisville nor was it the brick school in either Pinkstaff or Russellville.  Yet Census searches for Clay and Clyde Stephens kept bringing him back to the Cyrus Stephens family in Bond Township, Lawrence County, Illinois. The shop seemed to be owned by James Clay Stephens, the older brother on the left with leather chaps.  I believe that his younger brother Clyde V. Stephens, b 1889 in Sumner, Lawrence Co, is the teenager on the right, also wearing leather chaps.
  • We had several comments about the Maxwell Park series. Very few people knew anything about it or its location. Thanks to K Borden for the research.  
  • A family member (B Brown) thanked J King for providing research Achilles M. Brown, a Civil War soldier from Oblong. A blog article detailing the acquittal of Brown in the shooting of Dr. Routt was published in June 2013; the trial was held in Lawrence County.   Brown said it was a slight shock to read that this ancestor had been involved in that type of case but it certainly made for a great story to pass through the family.  
  • When the names of the HMC medical staff in the 1950s was posted on the blog, J. Petty remembered that Dr. Ed Fahnestock gave all the Bridgeport kids their school required physicals.  
  • S. Frederick wanted to know about the white building across from Bridgeport Grain at the southwest corner of Main & Olive Streets in downtown Bridgeport .  J King responded that it was the Farmer's State Bank. The building was rebuilt after the fire on Friday, June 13, 1913, that destroyed two blocks of downtown Bridgeport. The bank failed in the late 1920s or early 1930s.  A hermit lived there during the 1950s & early 1960s—later his body was found in the vault.  Then the Masonic Lodge of Bridgeport fixed it up for its use. The building has been vacant since the Masons moved to their present location, at the corner of Olive & Washington and is now owned by the same owner of Bridgeport Grain. 

Research Note:  We have bound volumes of the Sumner Press from 1971 through 2015 at our Research Library, as well as several other bound local newspapers.  

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Bethany Church

Bethany Church congregation circa 1920
Bethany Christian Church about 10 miles upriver from Lawrenceville and to the west of the Embarras, is situated in a region of rich black lands which was settled by thrifty farmers of German and Irish descent. Among them were Mrs. Jacintha Jane Norris and her daughter Cassie Norris Smith, both of whom were members of the White House or Pleasant Hill church several miles to the south. Through their influence J. S. Clements, a Christian minister was called to hold a meeting in the Bethany schoolhouse.

Thirty-six persons responded to the invitation to attend. Members of the Dunlap, Allen, Updike, Judy, Smith, Westfall, Ridgley, Welch, Gray, Norris, Lester, Kimmel, Carter, Groves, and Bennier families attended. The log schoolhouse where they met for worship was commonly called Cornbread School so it was to be expected that the congregation soon came to be known as the Cornbread Church. Here people gathered for nearly 3 years beginning in 1879. Late in 1881 a chapel was built on the site of the present building.

In 1907 the first oil well was drilled in Petrolia, Lawrence County.  By 1914 the boom had hit the Bethany area. Klondike sprang up about 1 mile northwest of the church and Applegate grew up two miles south. Oil brought both people and money to the area and the church revived. The crest of the oil boom passed in 1917 and many people moved to other fields.  World War I and the influenza epidemic set in during the winter of 1918 and the church once again declined in numbers and spirit.

However during the boom period, a tent meeting was held at Bethany Church in September 1907 that had far-reaching repercussions. The evangelist held that the use of instrumental music in worship were unlawful  and ought to be forbidden in the church. A few who held that these things made no difference remained. Mrs. Metta Lester’s patience with those whom she thought to be too strict in matters of opinion wore thin, and 1910, when she saw that none of the children of the neighborhood were receiving any Bible training,  she announced that on the next Sunday, classes for children would be organized. The non-instrumentalists locked the doors of the building to keep her and the children out. But it so happened that the three trustees were in sympathy with her and allowed the use of the school church house. At this the anti-instrumental element left the church and instrumentalists who had previously left came back. The wounds of this conflict had not completely healed by 1979, according to a newspaper article written at that time. 

In 1921, C. L. Doty revived the old church and added more members than any other minister of record.  A year later at a revival,  a decision was made to remodel the church. Mark Smith was elected business manager and Opal Updike, treasurer. Frank Smith secured enough pledges, that is was not necessary to raise money on the Dedication Day.

On January 31, 1933 the building caught fire for some unknown cause and burned to the ground. Nothing was saved and the insurance had lapsed. Immediate plans were made to rebuild. Timber, help and money were donated to the extent that a new building was erected and dedicated in August, 1933. C. L. Dodi gave the dedication address.

photo by John Hamilton
In 1964 six classrooms were added; in 1965 a baptistery and dressing rooms were also added. 

 Elders who have served are Robert Gray, Jonathan Smith, CharlesSteffy, Frank Smith, Ellis Smith, Opal Updike, Carl York, Omar Smith, Harmon Parrott, Jerry Smith, Ray Havel, Dee Havel, Paul Longnecker and Joe Smith. Other deacons who have served are: George D. McGuire, William Lester, Charles Beard, William Darnold, Leslie Gray, Carson Gray, Fred Newton, Singleton Kimmel, Guy Gray, Lawrence Berkshire, Omar Smith, Roy Jacobs, Bennett Bridgett, C. B. Nuttall, Willard Smith, Joe LaMotte, Loyd Jacobs, Telly Mushrush, Joe Smith, Veris Parrott, Elvin Legg, and Terry Havill. 

This photo was published in the newspaper  in recent years purporting to be he Bethany Sunday School class in 1918.  Names identified were Toletha Osborn, Isis Harbaugh, Corene Laws, Martha Harbaugh, Marjorie Harbaugh and William Scyoc. Several researchers are questioning the identification and would like the descendants or perhaps church members to confirm that these families were members of the Bethany Church.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

1937 Basketball Team

1937 Tracy Elementary school in Bridgeport 
bottom row from left:  Maurice Irwin, Harold Lee "Deedle" Murray, George Hite Baldwin,
 and Hallie Hamilton, Jr.  
Back row from left: Richard "Dick" Smith, Coach Orris Brown, John "Jack" Masengale
 and Myron "Bingo" Henry.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

How to make Hominy

In the archives N King found a recipe for Home Made Hominy.  We thought you might like to know how our local farm wives made hominy years ago.
½ gal shelled corn
1 heaping tablespoon baking soda to each quart of corn

Put all in an earthen crock and cover well with water, and let stand overnight. 
In the morning put the corn and water into an iron kettle and add sufficient water to cook.
Cook until the hulls will wash off in cold water. 
Wash in several waters, then cook until it is tender, changing the water until the corn gets nice and white. 

2 quarts of corn makes 6 quarts of hominy.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Lawrenceville Elementary Schools and 8th grade Graduation photos.

A framed photograph of all four early Lawrenceville Elementary Schools. 
Lincoln School  First 8th grade Graduates May 1925
Lawrenceville 8th grade Graduates Class 1926 (students identified) 
Lawrenceville 8th grade Graduates Class of 1927
Lawrenceville 8th grade Graduates 1920 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

1894 Congregation of the Allison Prairie Church of the Brethren.

This is a photograph of the 1894 Congregation of the Allison Prairie Church of the Brethren.

Reading from left to right
Top row: Effie Sprinkell, Howard Garber, Tony Gerhart, Marion Snyder, S. W. Garber, the pastor, Jacob Gerhart and James Jellison;

Second row from top: Eva Jellison, Cora Rife, Nina Garber, Mary Davis, Callista Sprinkell, Fon Tilly, Myrtle McCleave, Cora Gerhart, and Charles Benson;

Third row from top: Minnie Gerhart, Pearl Smith, Edith Gerhart, Oma Gerhart, Lizzie Sprinkell, Bertha Moore, Martha Gerhart, Dollie Gerhart and William Garber;

Fourth row from top:  Mrs. and Mr.s Emro Stivers and two children, Mr.s Sarah Obenchain and daughter, Lizzie, Mrs .Rife, Mrs. James Jellison, Mrs. Basil Gerhart, Mrs. Ann Moore, Mrs. S. W. Garber, Mrs. Jacob Gerhart and Mrs. Snyder and two children;

Fifth row from top: Flossie Moore, Oda Gerhart, Chloe Gerhart (marked out and written Chloe Moore) , Oma Obenchain, Jessie Gerhart, Ida Rife, Ethel Gerhart, Lizzie Gerhart, Mrs. McLaughlin and son and George Obenchain;

and front row: Ernest Regan, Adam Jellison, Kenneth Regan, George Obenchain (marked out and written George Garber), Loren Gerhart, and an unidentified lad. ( also written is John Warner’s name by unidentified lad)

Friday, March 9, 2018

History of United Brethren Church on Allison Prairie Part 2

The history of the Allison Prairie United Brethren Church continues. 

A Parsonage was built in 1914 on 2 acres of ground donated by J. H. Jellison. A barn, chicken house and other outbuildings were also built with most of the labor being donated. The 50th anniversary of the Church was observed on November 18, 1928. From 1912 to 1942, 211 persons were baptized; the membership in 1942 was 112.

In Max W. Fisher’s term paper he explained the Church of the Brethren’s views on war. They were not obstructionist but they did refuse to bear arms. Pres. Roosevelt approved a procedure submitted by the selective service board for those draftees who, by religious conviction, could not accept military training and service. These young men were offered 12 months of alternate training and service in the work of national importance. Training camps were to be set up and each congregation was asked to contribute two dollars per member. The conscientious objectors would work for the government without pay much on the order of the CC Camps. Their churches would support them with food, clothing and medical care. Student Fisher also pointed out that even among the Brethren, there were divergent points of view. Not all were conscientious objectors; several volunteered for military service.

Moving the parsonage
Summer 1942
In 1941 the Sunday school enrollment had 90 members with an average of 70 in attendance. The active church membership was 105. Ernest Frye was the church clerk; the church treasurer was Adam Jellison; and Deacons were Guy Rich, Ernest Frye, Adam Jellison and Faye Racop. Trustees were Jacob Elder, Ernst Frye, and Guy Rich. The 20 members of the Ladies Aid Society were busy quilting and earning money to wire the church and parsonage for electric lights. Members who were farmers gave an acre of grain to the church and those who did not farm were asked to match those funds. Young people were raising a vegetable garden.

Unbeknownst to the young student in April 1942, the US war Department
would decide they wanted the land where the church and parsonage stood for George Field. They offered $3765 for the properties with the privilege of buying back the buildings at a salvage price of $885 and moving the buildings. The offer was accepted and a location of 4 acres 1 ½ miles north of the old site was purchased. In June those buildings were moved. This is where they are located today, five miles east of Pinkstaff.

Taking a break from moving the church
During the moving and remodeling of the church, services were held in the Glade schoolhouse adjoining the new site. The last service held in the old church was May 31, 1942 and the first service at the new location was August 25. A double funeral was held for Ben Gowen Jr and his wife, Ruth Kent Gowen, who were killed when a George Field AT-10 airplane crashed into their residence. The service was conducted by Rev. Dolar Ritchey.

In July 1946 the church was covered with asbestos shingles. The parsonage was modernized in the fall of 1947 and in the spring of 1948. A portion of the front porch was added th anniversary.
to the front bedroom to enlarge it and a bathroom added. In 1948 the Ladies Aid project was to redecorate the interior of the church. In the fall of that year a furnace was added to the parsonage. In December 1951, 28 new pews were purchased. In 1961 contributions from friends in memory of loved ones made it possible to purchase a new piano for the church as well as new hymnals. In 1964 the front porch of the parsonage was enclosed as a pastor’s study. In 1965 the congregation held their 100

In 1973 an addition to the back of the church provided room for a classroom,two restrooms, a kitchen and furnace room. The latest edition in 1989 made the church fully handicap-accessible with the ramps to restrooms, classroom and a pastor’s study added to the front of the church. Central air-conditioning was also installed. Labor for all the improvements to the building was done by the members of the church and neighbors in the community.